You look marvelous! Have you lost some weight? Well, no, but thanks for looking at me through your waist reduction glasses!
Esquire writer Abram Sauer tested some common brands of men’s slacks a few years ago, and found that actual measurements were often 2-3 inches larger than the indicated size. For example, pants from The Gap that say they are 36 inches are actually 39 inches, pants from Dockers that claim to have a 36 inch waist actually have a 39.5 inch waist, and Old Navy’s 36 inch waist really measures 41 inches.
Gentlemen, welcome to the world of “vanity sizing,” and as its name suggests, it is designed to satisfy buyers’ wishes to appear thin and feel better about themselves. In doing so the store hopes to sell more clothes, and to create loyalty so you keep coming back to them. It is a practice so widespread throughout the fashion industry that most shoppers accept that negotiating size inconsistencies between stores is built into the shopping experience. And since clothing sizes are not standardized the manufacturer is not technically lying to you.
It’s interesting that you could gain weight and still wear the same size just by changing stores. I’m missing out though, because my wife won’t let me wave my diet and exercise program despite the vanity sizing opportunity. Also, I’d actually like to save some time by avoiding the fitting process. Even if their policy states that it’s “easy to return or exchange,” I hate going through those steps. Now that I think about it, my customer experience would improve if the labels would just state the correct size.